Burning the Old Year

portrait-mirror-behind

letters swallow themselves in seconds.
notes friends tied to the doorknob,
transparent scarlet paper,
sizzle like moth wings,
marry the air.

so much of any year is flammable,
lists of vegetables, partial poems.
orange swirling flame of days,
so little is a stone.

where there was something and suddenly isn’t,
an absence shouts, celebrates, leaves a space.
i begin again with the smallest numbers.

quick dance, shuffle of losses and leaves,
only the things i didn’t do
crackle after the blazing dies.

– Naomi Shihab Nye, “Burning the Old Year” from Words Under Words: Selected Poems


Notes:

I would never scold the onion for causing tears

bermuda-onion
“It is believed that the onion originally came from India. In Egypt it was an
object of worship —why I haven’t been able to find out. From Egypt the onion
entered Greece and on to Italy, thence into all of Europe.” — Better Living Cookbook

When I think how far the onion has traveled
just to enter my stew today, I could kneel and praise
all small forgotten miracles,
crackly paper peeling on the drainboard,
pearly layers in smooth agreement,
the way the knife enters onion
and onion falls apart on the chopping block,
a history revealed.
And I would never scold the onion
for causing tears.
It is right that tears fall
for something small and forgotten.
How at meal, we sit to eat,
commenting on texture of meat or herbal aroma
but never on the translucence of onion,
now limp, now divided,
or its traditionally honorable career:
For the sake of others,
disappear.

~ Naomi Shihab Nye, “The Traveling Onion” from Words Under the Words: Selected Poems.


Notes: Poem – Thank you Beth @ Alive on All Channels.  Photo: YMarchese with Bermuda Onion

feed him for three days before asking who he is

rice-cilantro-food-meal

The Arabs used to say,
When a stranger appears at your door,
feed him for three days
before asking who he is,
where he’s come from,
where he’s headed.
That way, he’ll have strength
enough to answer.
Or, by then you’ll be
such good friends
you don’t care.
Let’s go back to that.
Rice? Pine nuts?
Here, take the red brocade pillow.
My child will serve water
to your horse.
No, I was not busy when you came!
I was not preparing to be busy.
That’s the armor everyone put on
to pretend they had a purpose
in the world.
I refuse to be claimed.
Your plate is waiting.
We will snip fresh mint
into your tea.”

Naomi Shihab Nye, “Red Brocade” (1952)


Notes: Image Source: Rice Nice Recipes, Every Hour. Poem Source: “who are you really, wanderer?” (via Schonwieder)

 

Burning the Old Year

burning-letter-love-new-year

letters swallow themselves in seconds.
notes friends tied to the doorknob,
transparent scarlet paper,
sizzle like moth wings,
marry the air.

so much of any year is flammable,
lists of vegetables, partial poems.
orange swirling flame of days,
so little is a stone.

where there was something and suddenly isn’t,
an absence shouts, celebrates, leaves a space.
i begin again with the smallest numbers.

quick dance, shuffle of losses and leaves,
only the things i didn’t do
crackle after the blazing dies.

– Naomi Shihab Nye, “Burning the Old Year” from Words Under Words: Selected Poems


Notes:

Time to, Begin. Move the blood.

gif-hibike-euphonium-breeze-wind-hair

A new place.
Awakened eye
Seeing freshly.
What does that do to
The old blood moving through
Its channels?

~ Naomi Shihab Nye, Fresh from You & Yours


Notes: Poem: Thank you Whiskey River. Gif: bakabt from Sound! Euphonium

Gate A-4

naomi_shihab_nye

Gate A-4 By Naomi Shihab Nye:

Wandering around the Albuquerque Airport Terminal, after learning my flight had been delayed four hours, I heard an announcement: “If anyone in the vicinity of Gate A-4 understands any Arabic, please come to the gate immediately.” Well— one pauses these days. Gate A-4 was my own gate. I went there.

An older woman in full traditional Palestinian embroidered dress, just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing. “Help,” said the flight agent. “Talk to her . What is her problem? We told her the flight was going to be late and she did this.”

I stooped to put my arm around the woman and spoke haltingly. “Shu-dow-a, shu-bid-uck, habibti? Stani schway, min fadlick, shu-bit-se-wee?” The minute she heard any words she knew, however poorly used, she stopped crying. She thought the flight had been cancelled entirely. She needed to be in El Paso for major medical treatment the next day. I said, “No, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just late, who is picking you up? Let’s call him.”

We called her son, I spoke with him in English. I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane. She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it. Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and found out of course they had ten shared friends. Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian poets I know and let them chat with her? This all took up two hours. [Read more…]

Before you know kindness…

girl sorrow

“Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside, you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.”

Naomi Shihab Nye, the Great River

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Quote Source: Thank you crashinglybeautifulImage Source: Thank you art42 via Crescentmoon

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